Bootleg: A Sexual Miseducation
During the 1920s, the 18th amendment became the law of the land, and the manufacture, transport, and sale of alcoholic beverages were illegal. While Prohibition formally ended the sale of intoxicating beverages, it did not halt its consumption. Liquor was sold and consumed behind closed doors in speakeasies and were made by homebrewers and moonshiners all across the nation. In middle school I became a homebrewer, but instead of alcohol I served sex. At the ripe age of 11, I taught sexual health to all my friends and others who were curious about their body and how to use it with another. We all read the chapter on reproduction in our comprehensive science classes or got the talk from our parents, but we knew that those lessons didn’t tell us everything we wanted to know.
I held sessions in speakeasies that didn’t require an ID or a secret knock. We gathered at the lunch table or on the portable steps near the basketball court to teach each other with our experiences and miseducation.
Most of us were introduced to sex through television and/or the internet, memorizing sex scenes in movies and watching porn religiously to come back and tell the stories of our vicarious sexual experiences. Of course there were those in my middle school who had been sexually active, giving blowjobs on the staircase or handjobs during class, but everyone was pretty much on the same page: no one really knew what they were doing.
I became interested in sex when I heard some things that didn’t quite make sense to me:
“You can lose your virginity by horse riding, riding a bike, or doing gymnastics.” (Although one can rupture their hymen with continued horseback riding, one cannot lose their virginity unless engaged in sexual intercourse.)
“Girls have secret holes, there’s one behind the knee!” (There’s no secret hole behind the knee. The only ones you can fuck are the mouth, the vagina, and the anus. The other hole is the urethra where you pee. There’s your secret hole.)
“I got my cootie shots in the second grade so I don’t have to wear a condom.” (No...just no.)
I asked my science teacher about these things but was dismissed immediately. I was told that sex education did not include those things and quite frankly, I didn’t need to worry about them. Instead, we ran through a PowerPoint on genital warts and watched a step-by-step video on how to properly dispose of maxi pads.
I didn’t see my first vagina in a classroom until the eighth grade. We watched a woman give birth. The only reason we saw the video was to show the girls how much it hurt. The boys didn’t get any more than the girls did; their sexual education started and ended with the PowerPoint.
Students around the country share similar experiences. “I came from a pretty conservative place,” says Olivia, ‘20. “Sex ed for me was like a woman came to talk to us about how she was a virgin and how great it was to be a virgin [sic]. Then we signed cards to pledge to keep our virginities.”
“A December report by the CDC found that less than half of U.S. high schools and only one-fifth of middle schools are meeting the CDC's recommendations for educating kids about sex,” a writer for Governing translates. Some public schools don’t even include sexual education in their curriculum.
Journalism major Cassandre ‘20, says, “We didn’t have that [sex ed class]. You just did it and learned from it.”
My brief introduction to sexual health didn’t do much to answer my questions, so I did the research myself and learned everything I could, from mitosis to G-spots. I brought everything back to school with me.
I taught my first lesson during lunch. A friend of mine fingered his mac and cheese to produce the swooshy sound a wet pussy would make. Another friend turned and said, “You know if you’re fucking a girl and she’s not wet you can just put vaseline. That’s what my brother did. He said you can use it in her butt, too.” I immediately halted the conversation and told them that under no circumstances should anyone be using vaseline as a lubricant. The average woman takes 20-40 minutes to become aroused, and with proper foreplay she’ll be wet enough to put up a caution sign! I then proceeded to explain how natural lubrication and arousal worked.
Of course they looked at me like I was insane, but I felt proud. I saved a life that day. No one should be putting petroleum jelly in an anus. That’s just not where that stuff goes.
They were skeptical about the information I gave but my explanations were more thorough than any they’d heard before. Since then I was confronted with sex-related questions constantly.
But I didn’t just take sciencey questions about sex. Many students found talking to me about what they liked to be comforting. Before I knew it, my sex educating turned into sex counseling. I’d spend my after school hours telling girls that it didn’t make them a slut to let a guy cum on their face nor did it make them a prude to say no to anything they didn’t want to do. My advocation for sexual positivity even helped a few people come out the closet.
Sexual education should not be a pledge of abstinence, a brief explanation of the pubescent stage of adolescence, nor a scare session on the consequences of sex. Students should be familiar with things like contraception, and encouraged to share their sexual experiences and interests (sexuality, kinks, fetishes), especially in a safe environment like a classroom. It’s important to become comfortable with such a natural part of life. Imagine how many buttholes we could save if we just talked about a few things.
Photo by Emme Harris